Going Home

I have been feeling melancholy lately; stuck in a wishing of things that were.

I find the most accurate term to be “homesick”, but the truth is that I am wishing for things that are no longer. Past-sick might be more accurate and I’m finding that my definition of home and past are so intimately intertwined that I can no longer distinguish their separate attributes.

An unrequited longing for a different story line or at least a review of crossroads seems to be my private midnight movie each night as I try to silence the mind that holds me captive, brings me words, and over analyzes choices.

I’ve been planning as though my life depended on it; planning for my husband’s upcoming 30th birthday and my son’s upcoming 4th birthday.

And perhaps, in my somewhat fragile state of mind, my life does depend on it;  depend on the planning of momentous celebrations to remember that there are occasions, monumental occasions, that require attention and dedication that I am, truly, thrilled to honor them.

I have a surprise planned for my husband, a big one that I know (hope?) he will love because even though he doesn’t like to make big deals of things I like to, and turning 30 isn’t just something you can brush under the rug.

I know myself well enough to know that this is not depression (I’ve been there) but rather a valley, a passing of emotion that will fade as quickly as it appeared, mysteriously drifting in and out of my consciousness.

And I also know that it’s a fear. A fear of the reality that my son will be 4, because every year that he gets older is another year that he is growing up, just as he should.

And then I know, I’m having a slight fear of turning 30 myself, because in all of my intense planning of the celebration of others I can not seem to think of how I would like to celebrate myself.

And I’m doing silly things like going to a tanning bed (just the spray kind, not the terrible kind) and whitening my teeth and working out because I’m trying to capture, grasp, hold on, to some part of what it meant to not be 30?

Even though I’ve said for a long time that I’m ready to be 30. And I am. And I’m going crazy all at once.

I’ve talked to some old friends lately that I haven’t talked to in a long time, and at once I missed the phase of life I knew them in and wished they were more in the phase of life I’m in now.

It’s interesting to remember who you were before you became who you are.

Because you used to be oh so very different in the midst of your sameness.

Finally the birthday parties are planned and the to do lists are (almost) crossed off, and on Friday my husband, son and I are leaving for a trip to Georgia for a week full of family and birthdays and busy-ness.

And though I usually hate the craziness of trips to Georgia, this time, it feels a lot like going home.

 

 

 

When Your Best Friend is Three

When the person you spend the most time with is three, it also tends to happen that they become your best friend.

You are with them every second of every day.

When you spend all of your time with someone you begin to notice the nuance of a sigh, the preamble to a smile, and the lingering of a disappointment.

They see you at your best, your worst, your strongest, and your most vulnerable.

And since the age of three does not come with a filter, they call you out. On everything.

When your best friend is three, they don’t hesitate to tell you that the green dress you put on makes you “look like a T-rex.” Obviously, you are not leaving the house in that condition.

When your best friend is three, they will help you limit your calorie intake by telling you that you don’t need to eat any more “so your tummy won’t get squishy.”

They can boost your ego with a “you look beautiful” and tell you like it is when you need to freshen up so you “won’t be scary” with a “maybe you need a little make up.”

When your best friend is three you find that your most animated conversations tend to involve the life cycle of bugs or the origins of poo.

They will also help you make decisions with impressive negotiating skills, like when you can’t decide if the afternoon’s activity should involve cleaning or playing. “How about this, Mommy? You can clean and I can play.” Problem solved.

When your best friend is three, you find yourself in power struggles. You want to value their opinion just as much as they want to be heard, but sometimes you still have to the be grown up.

When your best friend is three you might share your day with them even if it involved grown up things like bill paying and phone calls, because even though you don’t want to burden them with grown up stuff it’s ok to let them know it exists.

When your best friend is three you will truly be excited to hear about what the teachers said at camp today and who they played with that morning because you are just as curious about their child life as they are of your grown up one.

When your best friend is three you will sometimes not understand why they are so upset because you thought you were having a great day until the flip switched and you have no idea how to fix it.

When your best friend is three you may find yourself hovering between a desire to let go and a desire to hang on because three doesn’t last forever and fearlessness sometimes presides over logic.

When your best friend is three sometimes you just need a break because you can’t talk to them about all of the crazy that runs around in your mind all day. They are, after all, only three.

When your best friend is three you will find yourself on a roller coaster. I have spent days laughing, crying, being frustrated, being confused and being content.

When your best friend is three you will be surprised when you see bits of yourself in them. Maybe it’s looks or mannerisms or emotions but this little mini me has somehow become both your shadow and your reflection.

When your best friend is three you may find your world is small and large all at once. Because only in the confinements of a three year old world can you be completely isolated from the complexity of adult life and completely in awe of the world’s vastness in unison.

When your best friend is three you know there will be a limit to it. It’s not like when you were in school and you got those BFF bracelets with your girlfriends. (You did this, too, yes?) It’s not like your relationship with your husband that will grow and change and come together and fall apart.

It’s different.

When your best friend is three, you are completely aware that it is fleeting and that one day he may not be so interested in hanging out with you at the coffee shop or telling you all of the details about his day. Even the yucky ones.

When your best friend is three, you know that this part may end. But you hope, so very much, that the parts where he’s honest with you, and loves you, and laughs with you and shares with you will stick around.

Because you know that somehow what you are establishing with your little best friend now will be the foundation for what you will sustain with him later.

And even though you know he will not always think so, you will always think of him as the very best part of yourself.

That is what happens when your best friend is three.

My Best Friend, Age 3

Noah age 3

 

How to Survive the Summer on RichmondMom

I am over-the-moon excited to have my debut post live on Richmondmom.com today.

This summer in Richmond has been wet, rainy, and scary humid. (The scary part being the big-ness of my hair.)

Join me at Richmondmom where I talk about how to survive the summer with a toddler.

See you there! xo

 

100 Mommies

“I think we need 100 Mommies,” I heard a little voice pipe up from the back seat.

This is my favorite time with him, when we are driving from one place to the next and his body, finally still from the requirements of a car seat, allow his mind to imagine, create, and share.

“100 Mommies!” I reply. “Why do you think you need 100 Mommies?”

“If I had 100 Mommies, then one Mommy could do every thing.”

“Oh I see. So every Mommy would do one thing? What things would the 100 Mommies do?”

“Well, one Mommy would clean, and one Mommy would drive and one Mommy would play with me. And, well, I don’t know what the other Mommies would do.”

“Hmm, would one Mommy cook?”

“No, the Daddy will cook.”

This is an accurate portrayal of our family roles.

“I really like this idea! Everything would get done if there were 100 Mommies!” I enthusiastically replied, genuinely on board with the idea.

There was a pondering silence coming from the back seat.

“I’m so lucky I get to be your Mommy,” I added to the silence. Because I am, and I want him to know that.

“Yes,” he agreed in his swaggering three year old confidence. “Maybe there should only be one Mommy.”

I smiled at his conclusion and focused on the road ahead of me.

And I thought, even though I love this idea of 100 mommies and the fantasy of actually having a crossed off to-do list, I’m glad there’s only one Mommy too.

Have you shared a sweet conversation with your little one lately?

Blended Pieces on Moonfrye

“The sun was peeking through the clouds giving slight highlights to our morning as we traced the familiar steps to the car.

My son climbed into his almost too small car seat. I remember when he seemed so small in it and though he will always be my little, he sees himself as big.

I like these morning rides, these insights into his toddler mind as he asks me questions or tells me stories.

The engine reluctantly warmed itself to start in the cold as I adjusted the heat and put on the silly songs CD my son likes to listen to during our drives to school.

A rushed pulling out of the driveway left us headed to school just a few minutes late, because try as we might we can never make it out of the house exactly on time.

As I turned on to the next street I slowed as a kitten ran across the road.

“Oh, no, get out of the road little kitty!” I exclaimed.

“Why, Mommy?”

“I just saw a kitty run across the road but I don’t want to hurt it.”

“No, because then it would be squished and have to fly up to God.”

I paused at his certainty but responded with “Yes, then the kitty would go up to heaven with God.”

I then gave pause to my uncertainty as I added, “Mommy’s Daddy lives in heaven.”….”

Join me at Moonfrye to read the rest of this post as I take on the tender subject of talking about my Dad to my son. I would love to see you there. xo

Choose Your Battles

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It was an early morning and the often dreaded get-ready- for-school routine was upon us. Neither of us excel in the “morning person” area, so my son and I both struggle with the unreasonable demands of waking up and getting dressed at a certain time.

This morning was different, though. We had both gone to bed very early the night before, were well rested, and had spent the first part of the morning talking, laughing, and reading stories. It was going to be a good day. Obviously, having that thought was my first mistake.

As soon as we reached the bottom of the stairs, my son began the first battle with an outcry of “I want to be naked!”

“I know, you really like to be naked,” I replied, “but right now we have to get dressed and go to school.”

Reluctantly, my naked toddler sauntered over to me and offered his foot for the putting on of underwear. First battle: Mommy.

“I want this shirt!” he said, presenting a gray and black striped shirt. “And these pants!” he declared, choosing a slightly wrinkled pair of khakis from the laundry pile on the couch.

I am not a huge stickler for fashion, since I have been known to show up at preschool drop off and pick up with no bra, sweat pants, and a ponytail, but when I actually get dressed I do like fashion. And I definitely like for my son’s clothes to match.

“I’m not sure that those pants match that shirt. What about jeans with that shirt? Or you could wear this blue shirt with those pants? Oh look I even have the blue socks to match this blue shirt!” (Yes, he has socks that match certain shirts. I like a well dressed toddler.)

He met my attempts with a defiant “NO!” complete with a dismissive swipe of the jeans and blue shirt, and instead opting for the mismatched attire of khaki pants and gray and black striped shirt. He did like the blue socks, so now he looked like a complete mismatch of items. Battle goes to: the toddler.

Pick your battles, I told myself. And although I sometimes like to tell me inner voice where she can go, this time I listened.

“Alright! Now let’s brush our hair!” The brushing of the teeth earlier had gone flawlessly. He was dressed. We had even put on shoes without a fight. But the brushing of the hair was deemed an unreasonable request.

“No, I like my hair to look crazy.”

It’s hard to reason the importance of looking presentable with a person who is 1) three years old and 2) ok with looking crazy.

“Mommy will do it very quickly and then we can eat breakfast! Would you like Trix or Lucky Charms?” We serve a gourmet breakfast around here.

“Trix!” That did the trick (pun intended), and my son was soon blissfully eating breakfast with combed hair.

Until he decided that he would like to watch a TV show.

“We don’t watch TV in the mornings. You can watch a show this afternoon.”

“But I want to watch a show right now! I am not going to eat my breakfast if there’s not a kid show on.”

“Then you will be very hungry. We never watch TV in the mornings because the mornings are time for getting ready for school. You have a few more minutes to eat breakfast and then we need to leave.”

This caused an eruption of behavior. He stomped around, yelled “no” repeatedly, and began to throw his toys. He repeated his ultimatum about not eating breakfast unless he could watch TV and ended it with, “That’s the deal!” After politely asking him not to throw toys and telling him that Mommy said no, we are not watching TV right now, I then had to give him a warning that if he didn’t stop, he would be going to time out.

Finally realizing that his tantrum was not working, he gave in and soon starting quietly eating cereal in the dining room while I worked on folding laundry. Battle winner: Mommy. He even carried his bowl to the sink without my asking.

And then, right as we were on our way out the door, he looked at me and asked, “Mommy, what are you doing in the grand scheme of things?”

What a vocabulary! What a question! Oh the shock, the puzzlement, the philosophical pondering!

You win this round, toddler. You win.

 

Valentines and Memories

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Today, I am linking up with my very favorite link up, Memories Captured, which encourages us each month to capture the moments that catch our hearts and hold our memories. This will be the last Memories Captured link up until June, so instead of sharing just one memory with you, I want to share a few of my recent favorites.

Most of my heart belongs to this sweet little boy who I am honored to make memories with daily. I absolutely adore this most recent picture of him that I just captured Tuesday. At three-and-a-half years old, this little guy is mischievous and sweet all at the same time, and I think this exactly captures his current complexities.

(And the love between a boy and his ice cream.)

A boy and his ice cream

Then there’s this one from January, when just enough snow came to Richmond to build a small snowman and bring this grin to my sweet boy:

playing in the snow

I adore this picture of my son and I riding a children’s train during a weekend afternoon winter visit to an outdoor mall.

Mommy and Noah

And this very rare occasion of a date night at the beginning of January, when my husband and I went to dinner and a movie for the first date we had been on in 6 months.

date night

So this Valentine’s Day, I am cherishing these recent memories and so many memories from the past, and thinking about all of the amazing people that may not be in these pictures, but are always in my heart.

I did something a little crazy for Valentine’s Day this year…I entered a boudoir photography contest and have been selected as a finalist. If you would like to vote for me I can promise I will reward you with a probably hilarious story of how embarrassing it was to take intimate pictures. Voting ends February 14th at 5 pm PST. Thank you!

Update: February 15th: Thank you so much to all of you who voted for me! I did not win, but another one of the deserving finalists did. Thank you again for helping me try to make that silly little idea a reality! Maybe one day…. :)

The Unintentional Week Off

I inadvertently took a week off blogging.

After being plagued with a parenting dilemma last week, I have spent the entire past week pondering what to do about it.

I have read and cherished your blog comments, had long talks with my husband, sister, mom, and one of my best friends. I met with the director of my son’s school to express my concerns and I contacted a speech therapist.

I went through a “I must re-decorate and clean this house to get rid of this nervous energy” phase. That actually yielded some great results; I will have to show you some pictures!

And then I spent some time with my son. Really spent time with him.

And here is what I have concluded: Everything is FINE.

Though I may be a bit biased, I think my son is amazing. He is intelligent, sweet, thoughtful, and on a developmentally appropriate level for a three-year old. He may at times have a bit of an attitude, but that is a combination of the difficulty of age three and us working harder to control his outbursts.

I strongly cherish the comments from his teachers. I used to teach myself, and I think that a teacher’s input is highly valuable and important. But now that I am a Mommy, I also know that no one else can know my child and what is best for him as well as I do. And so I must take the teacher’s comments but put them in the context of his holistic learning, much of which includes his home life.

He is shifting from baby to boy and along with that we are going to have to adjust our parenting style. There will be many more times in the course of his life where we will have to re-negotiate our roles, and I think that this is just the first of many new parenting phases.

And so I took a week off blogging but spent a week trying to more fully understand who this little person is that I have been given the gift of parenting.

Turns out, he is just a little person, trying to figure this life out, and I am just a Mommy trying to figure it out with him.

And we are going to do just that; one step at a time.

 

 

 

 

The Rarity of Spontaneity

My husband and I are not spontaneous. Ever.

Due to my husband’s schedule as an anesthesia resident, his hours of down time are very limited  Anything we do has to be planned way in advance, written down on the paper calendar in the kitchen, and synced on our Google calendars. I will literally write: “Family Day: trip to Target” on the calendar in order to make that happen.

Things have gotten especially hectic in our little world lately since my husband’s hours remain intense, I have been working hard in rehearsals for an upcoming Christmas show, and I’m just now dealing with the stress of my in-laws inviting themselves up here for Thanksgiving. When my husband won’t even be here. (That, of course, is a whole different story.)

Today, I was supposed to have rehearsal from 10 AM to 9 PM. Luckily, my husband has this entire weekend off. That is such a rarity and it is terribly unfortunate that it falls during a time when my rehearsals are getting so intense. The good news is that my son did not have to spend 11 hours in childcare today. The bad news is, it still means we get no family time.

Driving over to rehearsal this morning, I heard a commercial on the radio about a Christmas tree lighting this evening at a local outdoor mall. I thought in passing about how much fun that would be, but knew it wouldn’t be a possibility.

Then I was lucky enough to only have rehearsal until 6:30. I texted my husband and asked him and the toddler to meet me at the tree lighting to see the lights and for dinner. We both arrived around 6:45 and were just in time to join a crowd of people singing jingle bells as the giant tree was lit, pretend snow filled the air, and Santa appeared. It was perfect.

Then my husband, toddler and I fought our way through the crowds to a restaurant that had a one and a half hour wait. Normally, we would have left, but instead we decided to put our names down and wander around the shops. We enjoyed some family time shopping together and eating a late dinner before coming home.

It doesn’t happen often, but this rare night of spontaneity with my little family tonight was just perfect.

 

 

Pumpkin Patch

I don’t have a lot of words to go with this post, but in the spirit of Halloween I wanted to share one of my very favorite October traditions with you; the Pumpkin Patch.

I love going every year, and it is so much more fun now that my son is old enough to get excited about it, too.

Please enjoy some pictures of our day as we selected pumpkins, went through a straw maze, and enjoyed playing together.

PS – This top picture? Is my favorite. :)

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